On Reboots, Revivals, Spin-Offs, and General Series Changes

creator

Member
While I was typing a response to another thread about making one change to a cartoon I realized that most of my proposed changes were just reactions to existing changes. I think it would be fun and interesting to discuss how changes in style, themes, staff, etc. have impacted the popularity, success, or personal enjoyment of various series. I encourage everyone to think about specific attributes of series to keep the discussion from becoming another originals vs reboots thread. I'll start with a cliche example.

The Simpsons

Homer Simpson of the 1990's was often selfish and impatient, but in times of trouble he showed humility and respect for his family. He didn't always make the best decisions or give the best advice, but he attempted to be a father and husband to the best of his ability. This multi-dimensional aspect of Homer made him an interesting and enjoyable character to watch. I admired his devotion to family and I genuinely felt pity when things didn't work out.

Naturally, writing staff changes occurred as the show progressed. Around the 8th season Homer's compassion became less apparent. He became increasingly reckless and antagonistic. His actions and advice became motivated by his lack of care. Instead of acknowledging his flaws he flaunted them. This stark character difference in Homer made the show less enjoyable for me. There were still glimpses of good Homer, such as in Halloween of Horror when he comforts Lisa, but in general the old Homer is just a memory now.

I have to run, but I'll write a few more examples later tonight. I have plans to talk about the Samurai Jack and Dexter's Laboratory revivals. Let me know what you think about Homer's personality changes or share your own examples. I'm excited to see what everyone else has to say!
 

Fone Bone

Hindsight 2020!
Yeah, no, Early Homer was a sociopathic monster. Only in the later seasons did Homer start showing compassion and nuance. The idea of latter day "Jerkass Homer" is completely untrue.
 

creator

Member
Yeah, no, Early Homer was a sociopathic monster. Only in the later seasons did Homer start showing compassion and nuance. The idea of latter day "Jerkass Homer" is completely untrue.

I appreciate your response. The burden of proof is absolutely on me since I made the claim. I just wanted to acknowledge your post and let you know that I’ll follow up with examples when I return to my computer tonight. In the meantime feel free to share examples of how changes in series have influenced your enjoyment.
 

Fone Bone

Hindsight 2020!
I appreciate your response. The burden of proof is absolutely on me since I made the claim. I just wanted to acknowledge your post and let you know that I’ll follow up with examples when I return to my computer tonight. In the meantime feel free to share examples of how changes in series have influenced your enjoyment.
There is no greater demonstration of Homer being a monster than telling Lisa in "Lisa's Substitute" that just because he doesn't care doesn't mean he doesn't understand.

And yes, it is true latter-day Homer is more self-confident regarding his own behavior. And I don't have a problem with that because I actually think Homer is a good guy, especially when you compare him to the other people on the show.

If you want a good example of a Simpsons character who has devolved from sympathetic in the early seasons to an irredeemable jerk now, the correct character to bring up is Bart Simpson. Ned Flanders also fits that bill. Part of the reason latter day Homer is better than early Homer is because his hatred of Flanders is now rational.

For me an example of a series change that lessened my enjoyment is how Futurama became so Bender heavy. Bender was always my least favorite character and once the show seemed to make him the center instead of Fry, it became worse for it.

Edit:

One more thing: There are clearly instances of Homer doing horrible things in the later seasons. I won't dispute that. Him attempting to strap a suicide bomb to his chest to protest an area code change is an excellent example. But that's an example of cartoony horribleness that is okay for me because nobody anywhere does that. The early Homer demonstrates real-worth hurtfulness and cruelty that I recognize from real people. He is a far more contemptible character because his behavior is realistic.
 
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Red Arrow

ça va nog wel
Oh well, here we go again, why not? :D

Dexter's Laboratory: the reboot ("revival") didn't understand what made the original so great.

-All characters are flanderized. Dexter becomes so unlikable. Dee Dee is more annoying. Dexter and Dee Dee have no cute sibling moments anymore. Dexter's parents are now overly stupid all the time. Mandark is a villain?????!! (Yes, I know, he became a villain in Ego Trip, but it takes place in the future...)
-Too much of the comedy goes like this: "Hahaha, look how SLOW and BORING this is, hahaha!"

I haven't seen all episodes of those two seasons (although I have seen many as a child). The episode Sore Eyes is probably the worst. It's hard to make something worse. The best ones are probably Chicken Scratch (made by Genndy Tartakovsky) and A Silent Cartoon.

The animation style in Chicken Scratch also looks a lot less "geometrical". The other shorts look like they are actually drawn by a computer program with all those unnatural straight lines.
 

creator

Member
Oh well, here we go again, why not? :D

Dexter's Laboratory: the reboot ("revival") didn't understand what made the original so great.

-All characters are flanderized. Dexter becomes so unlikable. Dee Dee is more annoying. Dexter and Dee Dee have no cute sibling moments anymore. Dexter's parents are now overly stupid all the time. Mandark is a villain?????!! (Yes, I know, he became a villain in Ego Trip, but it takes place in the future...)
-Too much of the comedy goes like this: "Hahaha, look how SLOW and BORING this is, hahaha!"

I haven't seen all episodes of those two seasons (although I have seen many as a child). The episode Sore Eyes is probably the worst. It's hard to make something worse. The best ones are probably Chicken Scratch (made by Genndy Tartakovsky) and A Silent Cartoon.

The animation style in Chicken Scratch also looks a lot less "geometrical". The other shorts look like they are actually drawn by a computer program with all those unnatural straight lines.

This reflects what my comments would have been. I first watched the episodes when they aired on Cartoon Network and I wasn’t impressed with the animation or art. I felt like the artists were capitalizing on the flash animation trend that was gaining traction at that time. The backgrounds were simple and characters were reduced to basic geometric shapes.

On the other hand, I felt like the Samurai Jack revival was excellent. In the original series I enjoyed the art and meeting the various characters that had been affected by Aku. The revival maintained these features while highlighting how years of Aku’s reign had worn Jack down. I thought it was a great way to introduce a new element into the show.
 

Red Arrow

ça va nog wel
Yes, Samurai Jack's revival was fantastic, but to be fair, it was made by Genndy Tartakovsky. Dexter's Laboratory's new crew had it much harder, they had to guess what made the original great. Cartoon Network really should have let Chris Savino make his own show in 2001.
I first watched the episodes when they aired on Cartoon Network
I got Cartoon Network in 2003 (at age 5) and if I remember correctly, the new and old episodes of Dexter's Laboratory were aired at random, so I discovered both versions at the same time.
 

Mostezli

Not 4 Everyone & That's OK
I encourage everyone to think about specific attributes of series to keep the discussion from becoming another originals vs reboots thread.
Ok, I'll balance the inevitable tides with the reboot being worth its salt.
Voltron Force doesn't get talked up enough. I think this was the first series since Batman Beyond to have the old school of heroes train a new generation, albeit in this case the old school are still active defenders of the universe.
You had your default trio of archetypes. They got specialized weapon enhancements.
The old and the new learn from each other. Good wholesome fun.
 

Dr.Pepper

Well-Known Member
I was going to talk about Dexter’s Laboratory, but I think everyone has already said what I was going to say, so I am going to go with another classic: Rugrats. Other than the obvious of adding the new characters that were from the movie, one major difference was that the babies were “dumbed down”. For example in the older episodes, they said “diaper” but in the later ones they said “diapie”. They also starting redoing the holiday episodes just to cram in Dil and Kimi (and to a lesser extent Susie).
 

Dantheman

Well-Known Member
I've said this about the 2002 He-Man and the Masters of the Universe reboot, but it bears repeating: Making Prince Adam and He-Man look completely different in body type/age is a completely logical revamp from the original show, as well as having Skeletor not go after Castle Grayskull at first, until he learns why it's so important.
 

AdrenalineRush1996

Well-Known Member
I actually liked the season 2 redesign of American Dragon: Jake Long since I believe it worked better with the show's tone and quality.
 

CartoonAddict95

New Member
I was going to talk about Dexter’s Laboratory, but I think everyone has already said what I was going to say, so I am going to go with another classic: Rugrats. Other than the obvious of adding the new characters that were from the movie, one major difference was that the babies were “dumbed down”. For example in the older episodes, they said “diaper” but in the later ones they said “diapie”. They also starting redoing the holiday episodes just to cram in Dil and Kimi (and to a lesser extent Susie).
Paul Germain mentioned his frustration with the emphasis of mispronouncing words in an interview with a friend of mine a couple of years ago, because he stated that he didn't think that the new guard understood how he and the original crew were doing it. Interestingly, alot of the same crew that worked on the first revival are working on the second revival, which Paul Germain is back for. So it'll be interesting to see how they write under his direction. (Though some of the older writers that worked on the original 65, like Rachel Lipman are also working on it)

Anyway, The Fairly OddParents. It started out as a charming, fun creative show, but over time, the characters were bowdlerlized, story points were retconned, fan favorite characters were featured less, iit became more loud and annoying and by the end of it's run, resembled nothing of the show that it started out as. It also started adding random, and unnecessary characters to boost ratings that served no purpose, especially Sparky.
 

TheCartoonRailfan

Riding the Rails
I'm probably one of the very few to actually like Disney's Doug. One advantage was that the Disney episodes were 22 minutes in comparison to Nickelodeon's 11 minutes, which allowed more focus on the other characters and not just Doug.
 

Dr.Pepper

Well-Known Member
Now that I rewatched Dexter’s Lab, I can summarize all of the revival’s problems in this list (*fixed in season four):
  • Drastically redesigned characters. Some weren’t so bad, but poor Dad got the short end of the stick.
  • Stiff animation and a dull color palette
  • Lazy-looking title cards that were just solid white with a picture of Dexter shown at random.*
  • The three minute gag cartoons. There were a few good ones in the mix such as Silent Cartoon, but most were time wasting trash like Dad trying to golf and Monkey and Quackor making out.*
  • No Dial M for Monkey and Justice Friends
  • The overuse of Mandark. He was in more episodes of the 26-episode reboot than in the 52-episode original.
  • Mandark being an evil villain instead of a jerk rival. I guess this started with Ego Trip.
  • Dee Dee being curiously absent in many episodes.*
  • Major retcons such as how Dexter met Mandark.
  • Candi Milo making Dexter sound like a babushka, although I can respect her for doing her best.
 

copper20

Eric
Yeah, no, Early Homer was a sociopathic monster. Only in the later seasons did Homer start showing compassion and nuance. The idea of latter day "Jerkass Homer" is completely untrue.
I agree; Homer especially in season one was far more "jerkass homer" than he was in seasons 11-12 to me.

While I want to show my opinions of the changes of Family Guy from s1-s4 to s5-today, they're redundant.

To be honest most reboots/revivals just don't work out. I can't find myself to enjoy the newer Ducktales over the old Ducktales. The 80s Ducktales is 3 decades older, but triple the appeal for me.
 

AdrenalineRush1996

Well-Known Member
Now that I rewatched Dexter’s Lab, I can summarize all of the revival’s problems in this list (*fixed in season four):
  • Drastically redesigned characters. Some weren’t so bad, but poor Dad got the short end of the stick.
  • Stiff animation and a dull color palette
  • Lazy-looking title cards that were just solid white with a picture of Dexter shown at random.*
  • The three minute gag cartoons. There were a few good ones in the mix such as Silent Cartoon, but most were time wasting trash like Dad trying to golf and Monkey and Quackor making out.*
  • No Dial M for Monkey and Justice Friends
  • The overuse of Mandark. He was in more episodes of the 26-episode reboot than in the 52-episode original.
  • Mandark being an evil villain instead of a jerk rival. I guess this started with Ego Trip.
  • Dee Dee being curiously absent in many episodes.*
  • Major retcons such as how Dexter met Mandark.
  • Candi Milo making Dexter sound like a babushka, although I can respect her for doing her best.
Not to mention giving Dee Dee's friends Lee Lee and Mee Mee the Chuck Cunningham treatment and Douglas only appearing in two episodes of the post-Tartakovsky era in comparison to four in the pre-revival era.
 

Dr.Pepper

Well-Known Member
Not to mention giving Dee Dee's friends Lee Lee and Mee Mee the Chuck Cunningham treatment and Douglas only appearing in two episodes of the post-Tartakovsky era in comparison to four in the pre-revival era.
Douglas was actually only in two episodes of the Tartakovsky era, not including a silent cameo and an appearance in a short. Coincidently or not both episodes took place on a school bus.
 

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